Choosing the Best
In this series of articles I’ve been addressing the question of why the outpouring of God’s Spirit in the Free Methodist Church in 2006 did not have a lasting impact on more people. Previously, I’ve I discussed how “
the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things” (
Mark 4:19) can choke out the work of God in our lives. In this, my final blog on revival, I want to look at how to conquer that kind of worldliness.
What is the key to winning the battle against this world as it bombards us with distractions and tries to convince us to make entertainment our pursuit? It is the knowledge that in Christ, we have something far superior. Peter writes that we
“are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy for we are receiving the goal of our faith, the salvation or our souls”
(1 Peter 1:9).
If we have Jesus, we have the best! We need to look no further than him to find joy and satisfaction. Direct access to the Creator of the universe and the Lord of all is ours and He promises that His grace is sufficient for anything we face. No form of entertainment can match that, not ESPN, not shopping or anything else.
What has the world to offer that can compare with the streams of living water (the Holy Spirit) that flow from within those who believe? Or the fruitfulness that produces 30, 60 and 100 times what was sown in us, which is the Word of God? The best defense against the lures of this world is an understanding and appreciation of what we have in Christ.
But this world is filled with distractions that can draw us away from our first love. My wife Char and I celebrated our 25
anniversary by taking a cruise to the Baja Peninsula. The atmosphere on the cruise was one of total self-indulgence and the pursuit of pleasure. It seemed the theme was: eat all you can, party all you can, enjoy yourself-you deserve it!
So I could wake up on the cruise and say to myself: today I am serving me. I am going to put aside the notion that I have been bought at a price by Jesus, that I belong to him and that he has a right to rule in my life. Instead, I am going to chase after happiness by doing what I want supposing that I can improve on God’s ways by living life my way.
Sometimes we kid ourselves into thinking that we need a break from God, as though serving Him is a burden that we need a respite from. We get fooled into believing that to be really rested or refreshed we need to be self-centered. But can we really improve upon the
life and peace that are a result of a mind controlled by the Spirit (Rom. 8:6).
How much better to focus our thoughts and affections on Jesus in whom we have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms? (Eph. 1:3).
When my obituary is written and people stand and at my memorial service and say how they remember me, I hope that I am not remembered primarily as an Oregon Duck fan. That has no eternal value. I hope I am not remembered primarily as a person who worked out and was physically fit. Although I want to be a good steward of this body, it will pass away.
I hope that I am not remembered primarily as someone who loved nature or the beach. As beautiful as nature is, it is the Creator of that nature that I want to be most obsessed with.
Wouldn’t it be better to be remembered as one who delighted in the Lord, built his life on Jesus, loved people, lived with eternity in mind and spread the gospel of grace?
Copyright Ed Skipper 2013
Please watch for my new series of articles on what I’ve learned from sharing my faith beginning in early September.